Good Friday and Deity-Placation

Today's Non Sequitur cartoon fits how some understand Good Friday perfectly: Among our oldest traceable concept of gods are the personalities we once assumed to be behind the forces of nature. How do we find a way to get rain when we need it, or divert illness away from ourselves? Placate the deity. And how [Read More...]

Unfortunate Convergence

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Good Friday: Spoiler, Summary, Stomp

The student who presented today in my class on the Bible shared this meme image: That Jesus dies is a spoiler only in the sense that the sinking of the ship is a spoiler for those who watch the movie Titanic. But what is noteworthy in the attempts at humor is the penchant for this to [Read More...]

Intertextuality and the Art of Persuasive Argumentation: SBL Paper

Here’s the abstract of a second paper that I will be presenting at SBL in November, in a session on “Intertextuality and the Art of Persuasive Argumentation” organized by the Intertextuality in the New Testament Section: “Reading a Letter Quoting a Hymn Quoting Scripture: Intertextuality and Persuasion in Philippians 2:6-11″ The passage in Philippians 2:6-11 [Read More...]

Jesus Wore a Red Shirt

This seemed worth posting again, since this week brings together Jesus’ death (foreseen, according to the Gospels, as clearly as that of a redshirt in a landing party) and the wearing of red to show support for marriage equality. Some people are having to explain that you can be in favor of marriage equality as [Read More...]

New Commandment and Foot-Washing Thursday

Apparently the term “Maundy Thursday” comes from the Latin phrase “mandatum novum” meaning “new commandment.” The reference is to John 13, which features the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, followed by his statement about a new commandment he has given them, to love one another. We actually reached this passage in my class [Read More...]

Amen! vs. Aha!

In some segments of Christianity, shouting “Amen!” is encouraged, and at times even requested with a phrase like “Can I hear an 'Amen'?” This isn't a Biblical way of using the word. But even if it were, it would still be problematic. It is asking for immediate assent to what is said, based on enthusiasm [Read More...]

The Letter Kills

This cartoon by David Hayward might seem anti-Biblical to some. But that’s only because they’ve missed that the Bible itself directs attention away from its pages elsewhere. As Paul puts it, “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” And yet many in our time bizarrely associate Christianity with letter-fixation. [Read more...]

Colbert on The Bible

Like John Byron, I have yet to see any episode of the History Channel miniseries “The Bible.” But I found the time to watch Stephen Colbert’s treatment of it on The Colbert Report and you can appreciate the humor completely without having seen the miniseries. Here’s a sample available on YouTube. Click through to watch the [Read More...]

It May Cost You Friends

Doing the right thing may cost people friends. That has always been the case. Particularly in view of my post earlier today, expressing the wish that more Christians would stand up for the marginalized and practice courageously inclusive love, instead of standing against science or engaging in other such distractions, I felt the need to [Read More...]

Literal Genesis Trial Scam

I am grateful to Michael Zimmerman and others who have pointed out that the $10,000 prize offered to someone who proves evolution before a judge is (1) just the same guy who has made this offer in the past, (2) an offer from someone who does not understand what evolution is, (3) an offer that [Read More...]


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